Tenrec - Encyclopedia




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TENREC (Centetes ecaudatus), one of the largest representatives of the mammalian order Insectivora, the length being from 12 in. to 16 in.; called also the tailless ground-hog of Madagascar, to which island it is restricted. The coat consists chiefly of bristles and hairs, with an admixture of flexible spines, which in the young form longitudinal lines down the back; but in the adult they are limited to the back of the neck. The general hue is brown tinged with yellow. From twelve to sixteen young are produced at a birth, and twenty-one have been recorded. In habits the tenrec is fossorial and nocturnal; its home is in the brush in the mountain regions, and in the cool season, from May or June till December, it hibernates in deep burrows. The long flexible snout is used to root up worms and grubs, and ground-insects form part of its nourishment. These animals are very fat when hibernation begins, and are then much valued for food by the natives (see also Insectivora).

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